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GEORGIA
Plants and Animals

Cities in GEORGIA

Tbilisi

Plants and Animals

Plants

The different landscapes produce an unusually varied flora. The country has about 5000 different species of plants and flowers. Of these, about 380 species are indigenous. There are also about 8,000 species of mushrooms, ferns and mosses. More than one third of the country is covered by forests and undergrowth and the vegetation varies greatly from east to west. In West Georgia we find a subtropical vegetation.

Pitsoenda Pines in GeorgiaPitsoenda Pines in GeorgiaPhoto: H-mall CC 3.0 no changes made

Alder dominate the marshy coastal area of the Kolkhida lowlands. Further inland, where it is drier, the forests are home to oaks, chestnuts, beeches, hornbeams and lianas. The unique Pitsoenda pine is still found in Abkhazia. A grove of these trees can be found in a national park on the Pitsoenda Cape. East Georgia is less densely forested and dominated by grasslands and thorny undergrowth. In the dry valleys, wormwood and Russian thistle are found. In the lower-lying areas and at the foot of the hills and mountains, forests are found only along the rivers, with oak, poplar, willow and occasionally mulberry trees.

Georgian MapleGeorgian MaplePhoto: PiccoloNamek CC 3.0 no changes made

In the moist, higher areas, juniper trees, pomegranate trees, Georgian maples and pistachio trees can be found. On the Black Sea coast, the very rare strawberry tree can still be found. Spectacular flowers such as bells, Columbines, scented orchids, marsh orchids and butterfly orchids can be found in the clearings and on the edges of the high forests. Around Mestia, the red sneezeweed, the large pink cuckoo, the large yellow vetch, bilberry, the native giant hogweed grow, as well as the white foxglove, the yellow five-spot, wild strawberries and gooseberries. Above the tree line, meadows with adderwort, lilies, columbine, ranunculus, bellflowers, orchids, vetch, scabious, three-coloured violet and cornflower. Above them are stonecrop, campanula, buttercup, lapwort, rock jasmine, fleabane and purple primrose.

Ten species have become extinct in recent years, including chickweed, Georgian elm, Transcaucasian poplar and Eldari pine. Fifty species are in a critical phase and 300 species are rare.

Animals

Georgia's unique location provides a mix of European and Asian wildlife with about 100 species of mammals, 330 species of birds, 48 reptiles, 11 amphibians and 160 species of fish. Of all these species, 21 mammals, 33 birds, 10 reptiles and amphibians are endangered or very rare. For example, four wild goat species are threatened with extinction: the Dagestan goat, the tur or Caucasian goat, the bezoar or pasang and the chamois. The Persian gazelle and the Caucasian leopard are no longer found in Georgia. The striped hyena was also considered extinct, but has been seen again in the dry steppe region of south-east Georgia.

Caucasian Goat, GeorgiaCaucasian Goat, GeorgiaPhoto: Sergei Kazantsev CC 3.0 no chnges made

In the East Georgia lowlands, gazelles, deer and wild boar can be found. Around Tbilisi, the rare dwarf shrew can still be found. The western lowlands have a more varied fauna with mammals such as moles, squirrels, brown bears, badgers, weasels, deer, wolves, foxes, lynxes, minks and wild cats. The European otter, golden jackal and Persian squirrel are seriously threatened. Several species of small mammals are also threatened, including the Transcaucasian golden hamster, the dwarf or grey hamster, the water mouse and the Caucasian mole. A quarter of the reptiles are indigenous to the Caucasus. Endangered species include the Schneider's skink, the leopard snake, the dwarf snake and the Caucasian viper.

aucasian Viper, GeorgiaCaucasian Viper, GeorgiaPhoto: Tim Vickers in the public domain

Georgia is home to various species of pheasants, geese, curlews, ducks, cormorants and woodpeckers. Winter visitors include pelicans, storks, herons, hawks and eagles. In the mountainous areas there are Caucasian jackdaws, black grouse, pheasants, cuckoos, woodpeckers and magpies. Endangered species include the bearded vulture, black vulture, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, peregrine falcon, marsh harrier, golden eagle, black mountain hare, black stork and spoonbill. There is also an isolated colony of mountain finches, which otherwise only occur in Central Asia.

The mountain rivers are full of trout. The Black Sea is home to dolphins, sharks, salmon, herring, dogfish and swordfish.


Sources

Bronnen

Burford, T. / Georgia
Bradt Publications

Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan
Lonely Planet

Rosen, R. / Georgia
Odyssey Publications

Spilling, M. / Georgia
Marshall Cavendish

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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